Monday, April 5, 2010

Time off to recharge the batteries!

Well the Easter long weekend has almost come to an end but I've had a really enjoyable time working on the jewellery kits I had set aside. Here's what I got up to.

The first is a sweet little bracelet from My Little Bead Shop. I've made slider bracelets before but the idea of using velour tubing over tiger tail instead of curved metal tubes over memory wire really appealed to me. And, I love the hot pink velour tubing too! This was just a little warm up project and it took only a few minutes to complete.

Next I tried something I've never tried before - a chain maille project, which would no doubt be a little more challenging than the straight forward threading of my first project. How fascinating to make jewellery out of nothing more than jump rings!

The kit had everything in it to complete a necklace using the European 4 in 1 weave. The kit even included some simple tools: a jump ring opener and a T-pin and the rings were gold and silver plated. Personally, I prefer to use two pairs of flat nosed pliers to open and close jump rings but I thought it was a nice touch to include a ring opener. The T-pin, on the other hand, was an entirely necessary tool for a beginner. It was the only way I was going to be able to get the jump rings lying in the right position to attach more rings.

I've had this kit for more than a year just waiting until I had an opportunity to put it together so I was really excited to be finally trying my hand at Chain Maille. I've only ever flirted with doubling rings before because my supply of bulk rings are not well enough formed for Chain Maille.

At first I found it a little tricky manipulating the rings - hooking on all three rings as the instructions said seemed almost impossible to begin with, but once I got the "rhythm" of the weave it started to get easier and in the end I was able to dispense with the T-bar and the necklace came together very quickly. I must say that having the silver ring down the middle made it easy to work the weave although I'm not completely happy with the end result as the rings in this kit were less than perfect. All the jump rings were flattened on one cut edge by the tool they were cut with so they didn't butt together perfectly. They were also a little twisted which I found annoying as I was constantly trying to flatten them..... the problem with being a perfectionist! Anyway, I lost that battle but it was not a bad effort.
The third kit I made up was a Japanese 12 in 2 weave bracelet with matching earrings. Now this was fun! Although there is a little bit more to this weave than the 4 in 1 weave, by the time I had made a couple of the daisy repeats, the pattern was easy to remember. I also really liked the two tone look of copper and gold together.

The jump rings in this kit were all beautifully formed and definitely not cut with pliers. They were also not twisted so this was a joy to put together. I bought the pattern and the kit for the project as two separate components from The Chain Maille Lady. The instructions were easy to follow and the kit was good quality - it was more expensive than the other kit but it was worth paying more for it too.

I'm quite happy with this piece although smaller gold jump rings would have made the daisies a little bit tighter, but the slightly larger jump rings did make it easier for a beginner to put together. If you're interested in trying Chain Maille I would definitely recommend a kit from The Chain Maille Lady.

Well, that's it for my Easter long weekend projects. What great therapy these projects were! I've enjoyed myself so much that I'm going to squirrel away some more kits for another rainy day, whenever that might be.

And now I'm feeling refreshed again and the batteries are recharged.

'Til next time,

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